GARDINER, Mont. — A female grizzly bear was shot and killed by a hunter on Tuesday, Sept. 26 in Beattie Gulch, a popular hunting spot close to the northern border of Yellowstone National Park, outside of Gardiner.

According to the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks Department (FWP), the hunter was charged and able to shoot and kill the bear at close range.

On Tuesday morning, 2 hunters were walking through the dense timber of Beattie Gulch, a wildlife habitat that is home to bison, deer, pronghorn antelope, bighorn sheep, elk, wolves and bear. The hunter who was charged told FWP officials that he saw another grizzly, possibly a yearling cub, in close proximity. An animal carcass was found nearby, and FWP bear specialists and game wardens determined the bear was likely acting defensively. No one was injured.

Staff from the Forest Service, National Park Service and FWP visited the site and confirmed the bear mortality. This incident is still under investigation by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.

A similar incident took place on Wednesday, Aug. 30, when a grizzly bear was shot and killed in self-defense by a pair of anglers in Montana’s Tom Miner Basin.

“This is a reminder that Montana is grizzly bear country and it’s very important for hunters and other recreationists to be aware”, FWP Information Officer Morgan Jacobsen said. “Take precautions in any area west of Billings, Mt., the western two-thirds of the state.”

FWP recommends taking the following precautions when recreating in bear territory:

  • Carry bear spray and be prepared to use it immediately.
  • Make noise to alert bears to your presence and travel in groups.
  • Stay away from animal carcasses, which often attract bears.
  • Follow food storage orders from the applicable land management agency.
  • If you encounter a bear, never approach it. Leave the area when it is safe to do so.
  • Keep garbage, bird feeders, pet food and other attractants put away in a secure building. Keep garbage in a secure building until the day it is collected. Certified bear-resistant garbage containers are available in many areas.
  • Never feed wildlife. Bears that become food conditioned lose their natural foraging behavior and pose threats to human safety. It is illegal to feed bears in Montana.

FWP recommends taking the following precautions when hunting:

  • Carry bear spray and practice to be prepared to use it immediately.
  • Look for bear signs and be cautious around creeks and areas with limited visibility.
  • Hunt with a group of people. Making localized noise can help alert bears to your presence.
  • Be aware that elk calls and cover scents can attract bears. Bring the equipment and people needed to help field dress game and remove the meat from the kill site as soon as possible.
  • If you need to leave part of the meat in the field during retrieval, hang it at least 10 feet off the ground and at least 150 yards from the gut pile.
  • Upon your return, observe the meat with binoculars. If it has been disturbed or if a bear is in the area, leave and call FWP.

Grizzly bears in the lower 48 states are listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. For more information and resources on bear safety, visit

Leigh Reagan Smith is a wildlife and community news reporter. Originally a documentary filmmaker, she has lived in the valley since 1997. Leigh enjoys skiing, horseback riding, hiking, mountain biking and interviewing interesting people for her podcast, SoulRise.